Posts Tagged ‘pet safety’
It’s hard to believe that the summer is nearly over, that fall is rapidly approaching and that our kids will soon be back in school. Well, if you’re thinking about taking a deep sigh of relief because you think that fleas and ticks will fade out of the scene like the hot summer sun, think twice. Although many people regard fleas and ticks as a summertime threat to their pets, these pests actually pose a year round hazard. Fighting fleas and ticks is no longer a seasonal battle. It requires year round attention and prevention.
Did you know that there are over 2,000 species of fleas and that they can transmit a vast array of diseases, most significantly tapeworms? Fleas are small wingless, bloodsucking insects that have legs adapted for jumping. Ticks are large fleas that are dark to light gray in color and attach themselves to animals or to humans (yeeech!). They are disease carriers that attach firmly to flesh and suck their host’s blood. They are more closely related to spiders and have 8 legs.
Exposure to fleas and ticks commonly occurs in the woods or open fields or even in urban parks where there is an overgrowth of shrubs and undergrowth of weeds. If you are planning to take Rover for a hike in the woods, make sure he is protected by flea and tick preventive that is easily applied or ingested. Actually, your pet should be on a preventative flea/tick medication all year long. Consult with a veterinarian as to which type and brand are best suited to your pet’s needs, size, health, breed and lifestyle.
Symptoms of flea manifestation are excessive itching, biting and chewing especially at the rear tail or the inside or outside of the thighs. Intense scratching can cause redness and irritation and inflammation a well as red bumps, skin lesions and ulcers. To determine if your pet has fleas, look for them crawling through your dog’s fur – they are 2-8 mm long, a mahogany brown color and have three pairs of legs.
Symptoms of ticks on your pet may include: lethargy, fever, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea lameness or even bleeding. . Ehrlichiosis is one of the diseases caused by ticks. Lyme disease as well as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis are other tick-born diseases. Most tick-born diseases take several hours to transmit to the host. It is fairly easy to spot a tick on your animal. It may look like a red/brown ball or pea. Wood ticks and brown dog ticks are good examples of ticks that can be troublesome for dogs.
If your dog may be exposed to fleas or tick, act preventively. Shampoo/bathe him with a medicated flea and tick shampoo. Obtain a flea and tick collar from your vet. Put your pet on flea-tick medication in accordance with your vet’s recommendations – this usually involves a monthly topical application or pill to be ingested. Implement a flea/tick prevention program that treats not just your dog but also the environment in which he lives. Make sure his bedding is clean, well maintained and free of dirt and pests. Take your dog for regular visits to the vet. Keep your garden well-manicured (no weeds or overgrown shrubs). Consult with your vet about chemicals and safe, appropriate and on-going preventive medications and treatments. Ideally, tick and flea prevention will become a part of your regular dog care and maintenance schedule!
In light of the fact that obesity is assuming alarming and epidemic proportions not only for humans but for our canine friends, it is important to address the issue of proper nutrition for our furry friends before serious health issues arise as a result of poor nutrition and inadequate exercise. Beyond nutrition, the importance of regular exercise for human and canine cannot be overemphasized.
However well-intentioned we may be in providing the best care for our animal companions, it is always advisable to conduct our own research as well as consult with a reputable, well-respected and knowledgeable veterinarian as to the “best” nutritional program for your particular pets. Just like human beings, each pet is unique and requires individual care pertaining to his or her size, weight, breed characteristics, heritage and ancestry, overall health and well being and personality, exercise regimen, etc.
Each pet requires consistent and on-going veterinary care – including regular visits to the vet (not just in an emergency or crisis situation). They require spay/neuter as well as physical examinations and their vaccinations. As they are examined, it is important for you (as your pet’s caregiver) to describe your pet’s physical condition, problems or any health issues that you may have observed. Does your pet limp? Pant? Breathe heavily? Have digestive problems? Walk with difficulty or hesitation? Have difficulty breathing? Tire easily even though not old? Your vet will more than likely be happy to address and suggest a proper nutritional and exercise program that will increase your pet’s longevity and improve his health and quality of life. He/she will take into consideration the age and lifestyle of your dog and help determine the diet best suited for your dog’s health and happiness.
It would be easy to believe that there is one superior pet food or diet that would fulfill all of your pet’s nutritional needs. Unfortunately, that is not the case. As is with the case of people. no one particular diet suits all pets. Your individual pet’s needs must be carefully considered in light of your pet’s age, background and overall health and well being.
Overall, your pet needs certain vitamin and nutrition, and a food that will be easily and well digested without any health consequences. Your pet may not need but generally will enjoy a varied diet – just as you do. Think in terms of your own health and enjoyment of healthy meals. Your pet should be fed a diet specially formulated for his age, breed, size and health history. For example, if he has kidney failure, there are appropriate diets that can help him therapeutically to limit the pain of his disease and prolong the quality of his life.
There is also danger in feeding your pet the “wrong” diet. It is important to give your pet a breed and age appropriate diet and also a special one designed for a dog that is pregnant, anemic or allergic or one who has kidney or liver failure, heart disease or other significant health issues. Therapeutic dies generally contain higher quality ingredients and have tighter quality control. Because they are intended for pets with special health issues, these diets are available through veterinary health professionals and should be administered under veterinary care.
If your pet is overweight, consult with your veterinarian as your pet’s obesity can be responsible for a number of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, liver and kidney disease, endocrine and intestinal problems, cancer, etc. Certain diets, typically those higher in fiber and lower in fat, can help keep obesity in check. Generally, diet and exercise are the keys to helping your pet maintain a healthy and well balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
Is Your Dog Overweight?
You may have suspected it, but a visit to the veterinarian with your dogs confirms the fact that your beautiful canine is overweight. Actually, you shouldn’t be too surprised as obesity in our pets, just as obesity in humans has reached epic proportions. You have done your best to feed your dog a healthy and nutritious diet, yet; somehow, you have provided her with more than the daily intake of calories she requires. You may have provided too little activity or exercise. You may have given her extra treats as “rewards” for good behavior or simply to make her happy. Any which way, it is time to deal with the inevitable – placing your dog on a healthy diet, exercise regimen and nutritional program. Proper nutrition will enhance your dog’s longevity as well as her quality of life.
Obesity is the most common nutritional problems veterinarians encounter in dogs and cats today. Being overweight can result in a wide variety of serious health problems for your pet, including heart disease, urinary problems, arthritis, cancer, endocrine issues and cancer. Overweight dogs are at higher risk in surgery, more prone to injury and experience greater stress on their hearts, livers, kidneys and joints. Excess weight can worsen respiratory problems and exacerbate osteoarthritis. Excess weight can lead to diabetes mellitus and generally diminish the overall quality of your pet’s life. Obesity can also decrease your pet’s life expectancy. Obesity is an issue that necessitates serious thought and consideration as well as change in your pet’s lifestyle.
The lives of our pets are generally shorter than our own. Therefore, if we are hoping for our pet to live a long, happy and healthy life, it is imperative that we provide our pets with a healthy lifestyle, sound nutritional program and a regular exercise regimen. It is as important for our pets to eat healthily and exercise frequently as it is for us as human beings. Once we have made the decision to adopt a pet, the animal is ours to care for until its death. We are the one and only caregiver of our vulnerable and trusting canine or feline friend, companion and beloved family member. Our pet’s life is completely dependent upon us. We are responsible for her overall care, health and well being.
To assess whether Fido really is “fat”, note the following:
Have your pet examined by your veterinarian. Consult with him or her to determine what weight loss regimen is most effective and beneficial for her.
If your vet puts Fido on a diet, do your best to adhere to the requirements of this health plan:
Limit the amount of food and snacks he gets;
Cut back the amount of kibble in his food bowl;
Feed healthy snacks if you “must” give him any at all: choose green beans, carrots or other low-calorie vegetables, unbuttered popcorn, organic or apple slices, etc. as per the advice of your vet;
Watch the fat content of the food you are purchasing & look for a diet with similar ingredients but fewer calories;
Watch the fat content in the food you buy’
Check the supplements you use for value & caloric quantity;
Keep Fido away from the dining table at meal time so that there is no temptation to your pet to beg or for you & your kids to give him unhealthy, fattening snacks.
Exercise your pet gradually and with the advice/consultation of your vet. Short sessions of low or moderate activity are a great way to begin this program i.e. a walk around the block, a regular obedience class or obedience routine are good ways to begin your pet’s exercise regimen.
Obesity affects approximately 25 percent of the U.S. canine population. Make certain that your dog is not a member of this population. Keep him healthily fed and exercised. Take no chances with your best friend’s health. Give him your love and a healthy dose of nutritional well-being and daily exercise.
I love July 4th – and everything it represents – freedom and independence as well as summer fun, joy and carefree sunny days. However, as a pet parent, I dread this holiday more than any other. My dogs are terrified of thunder and lightning and - especially
fireworks -which seem to occur in our neighborhood every year in greater numbers and with increasing frequency and intensity- not only on the Fourth of July but also during the days preceding and following the holiday.
The gunshots fired in the air, the sound of the fireworks going off – scare my dogs so much that they shake, shiver and become disoriented or destructive. They simply do not know how to respond to the cacophony of scary, inexplicable loud noises and displays of light. Their instinct is to either seek protection at home or to run away. Animal shelters across the country are accustomed to receiving “July 4th” dogs – who, in the frenzy and commotion of the holiday have run away or escaped.
My husband and I have learned through the years to keep them safe, calm and indoors and soothingly accompanied by a non-violent, easy to listen to program on television or classical music on the radio. We never take our dogs to see firework displays as they become very nervous, anxious and fearful.
To keep your pet safe on the 4th of July:
1). Do not take your pets to fireworks displays. The noise and commotion can be frightening and intimidating for them.
2). Do not leave your pets in your backyard or outside during fireworks displays that are audible or visible from where you live. Do not ever leave them outside unattended if they are within hearing range of fireworks.
3). Keep your pets safe, secure and comfortable in a room or place they really like and to which they are accustomed.
4). Keep the TV or radio on for them.
5). Make sure your pet is wearing proper identification tags so that if they do, by chance, get out, they are easily returned.
6). If you know your pet has anxiety or is disturbed by loud noises like thunder, talk to your veterinarian in advance of the 4th of July to see if there are medications available to help your pet through survive the holiday calmly and safely.
7). Never use fireworks around pets. Do not leave matches or candles around them either. Your pet could easily knock them over and start a fire.
8). Never leave your pet unattended in a car during a fireworks ceremony as he can get extremely frightened, overheated, agitated and/or destructive and even find a way to escape from the vehicle.
9). Don’t leave alcoholic beverages where your pets can get them or to them.
10). Maintain your pet’s normal diet on the holiday weekend. Do not give him any rich foods, cookies or cakes or barbecued foods that have fat or bones (i.e. ribs or chicken) that could upset his stomach.
11). Keep your pet out of the heat during the day as well as the nighttime.
12). Keep your pet cool, safe, calm and comfortable.
Enjoy and celebrate the holiday! Don’t neglect or forget about your furry friend’s physical and emotional health and well being!
Dr. Diane Pomerance
Many of us enjoy a swim in a refreshing pool during the hot summer months. Our pets may enjoy a swim as well. I have a yellow Lab named Sunny that not only swims, but also does some serious diving for Frisbees and other toys. Our pool is five feet deep, and Sunny is about 27 inches tall, but she is an excellent swimmer and water-lover supreme. She is fearless, and swims laps both in our pond and our pool. She would have little problem swimming 24/7 throughout the year (we live in Texas, so our winters are generally quite moderate.) She also knows how to get out of the pool via the shallow end and up the stairs. However, other kinds of dogs do not necessarily possess a natural ability to swim and may not be able to get out of a swimming pool.
There are some dangers posed by swimming pools that could prove harmful – even fatal to your pet. Here are some ideas that can keep your pet safe this summer:
1). Assess your dog’s ability to swim. Although most dogs have the ability to swim, this doesn’t mean yours is one of them. Old age, physical disabilities such as blindness or limited vision or other limitations can hinder your pet’s ability to survive in the pool.
2). If your dog displays an interest in getting in the pool, show him how to get in and out. Repeatedly show him and familiarize him with the shallow end and the steps that lead out. You may even want to install pet steps or a pet ramp (incline), which is hooked onto the sidewall of the pool if your pet has trouble climbing stairs.
3). Monitor your pets around a pool – just as you would children. Even if they are familiar with the location of a pool, they may inadvertently fall in.
4). A pool alarm will alert you to the sound of the surface water and water below being disturbed. There are many types of pool alarms- many have adjustable levels of sensitivity-that will alert you to danger.
5). Chlorine can irritate a pet’s eyes as well as their ears and lungs. Check your pet periodically for signs of irritation to the chlorine in the water.
6). Use eco-friendly products to clean your pool that are also pet-friendly. Converting your pool to a saltwater pool is a healthy alternative to one that is chlorinated and cleaned with other chemicals that aren’t pet-friendly.
7). After a swim, make certain to rinse off your pet with fresh, clean water. Always have some fresh, clean drinking water available and accessible for your dog.
8). Make sure that the pool water is not too cold for your pet and that he does not develop hypothermia.
9). Limit your pet’s time in the pool as well as in the hot sun.
10). If your pool is surrounded by concrete, brick or tile, guide your four-footed friend to a shaded, grassy area where he can rest after swimming and where his paws won’t get burned.
Enjoy the pool with your dog – he may even want to swim alongside you. My friends and I play water games with Sunny, and we have a lot of fun swimming together!
Summer just wouldn’t be summer without a visit to the lake, ocean or local watering hole. Whether you enjoy fishing, sailing, jet skiing, canoeing or simply swimming, the water promises a refreshing and fun-filled experience during the hot summer months.
Your dog may enjoy cooling off along with you. To assure that he remains safe, happy and healthy in and around the water, keep in mind the following suggestions:
1). Purchase a life jacket (pet flotation vest) for your dog. These are sold at most large pet product stores. Some dogs are natural swimmers; others are not and can quickly get into trouble in the water. The life vest may give him extra time by keeping him afloat if he actually needs to be rescued.
2). If your dog does not like the water, don’t force him to go in with you.
3). Familiarize yourself with the lake or ocean to determine if there are sharp or jagged rocks that could hurt his paws or if there are strong undercurrents that can pull your dog out to high or dangerous waters. At a pond or lake, check to see if the banks have a gradual incline so that your dog can easily get out of the water.
4). Teach and reinforce basic obedience commands – especially “come”.
5). Keep a close eye on him, and don’t let him too far in or away from you.
6). NEVER leave him unattended!
7). Always carry fresh drinking water for your dog, and teach him to drink out of a water bottle so that you don’t need to carry a water bowl with you all the time. Drinking water from a stagnant pond or lake can cause many different kinds of ailments including parasites, Giardia, and bacteria.
8). Pond or lake water with algae, fertilizer/pesticide residue or parasites, if ingested can cause vomiting, diarrhea and make your dog very ill.
9). Don’t let your dog swim for too long a period so that he becomes over fatigued.
10). Don’t let your dog swim in water that is too cold; this could result in hypothermia.
11). Rinse and wipe your dog dry after swimming – make sure you dry his ears off to reduce the possibility of ear infection.
12). Keep in mind that the heat of the sun around a body of water can be intense. Watch your dog for signs of sunburn and heat stroke.
Let good old-fashioned common sense guide you in and around the water. Make sure you and your pet stay, cool, safe and refreshed in the water and wherever else you go this summer!
Springtime Safety Tips for your Pets
Spring is generally regarded as a beautiful time of year bringing with it hope, renewal and rebirth. We – as well as our pets – emerge and venture forth from our winter long “hibernation.” We see blue skies and green (not dull brown) grass and flowers and trees in bloom. Near euphoria sets in. We find ourselves spending quality time outdoors, and, of course, we want to share the warmth and beauty of the season with our beloved pets.
Spring-lovers, beware! All is not as peaceful as it may appear to be. There are dangers posed by this season of which we may not be aware and that require our attention! It is important to make sure that our houses and yards are safe for our pets.
Spring marks the increased presence of the fleas, ticks and heartworms – although these parasites exist throughout the year – in all seasons. Fleas and ticks can exist throughout the winter and can lurk in the underground as soon as the ground thaws out. These parasites are not only painful and uncomfortable, but they are able to pass along life-threatening illnesses. It is advisable to continue flea and tick prevention not only at the first sign of spring but throughout the year to avoid infestation. Flea and tick treatments like Frontline or Revolution can help prevent skin discomfort and issues and protect your pet from unwanted bug bites and infestations.
As pet owners venture out into the garden to plant flowers and vegetables, they need to be aware of the harm that certain types of fertilizer and gardening products can inflict upon their pets. Even certain kinds of mulch as well as flower bulbs can result in a pet’s illness. Fertilizer and other garden products can result in their pets illness as well.,
Just like their human companions, pets may fall victim to allergies. They may display symptoms like coughing, sneezing or wheezing. They may break out in rashes and other kinds of skin irritation as well. They may lick their hot spots and cause even further pain and skin damage.
Always make certain your pets are wearing an identification tag in case they manage to escape from your property. Microchipping them is a very good idea. Also, when walking them outside your property, make certain to keep them on a leash so that they cannot run into the street or get attacked by another dog or animal.
Always make certain that your pet has adequate clean water and is not overheated. Check your dog’s water supply consistently throughout the day, and make certain he has plenty of shade in which to rest and play.
Avoid planting lilies, azalea, rhododendron, chrysanthemums, daffodils and tulips, which are all toxic to pets. Examine the ingredients of plants, mulch, fertilizers and herbicides as well as pesticides to determine that they are not toxic to your pet.
Enjoy this wonderful time of year – just make certain that your house and yard are safe havens for you and your pets. Plan on sharing the joy and beauty of the season with your animal companions!